GTT Vancouver and New Westminster Summary Notes, GPS and OrCam, September and October Meetings, 2016

GTT Vancouver
Summary Notes

Topic: GPS and the OrCam

Session 1, GPS and the OrCam
Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Present: 16 participants; Shawn, Corey, Lilo, Nora, John, Louise, Fay, Carol, Pat, Mary, Lynn, Peg, Ryan, Albert, Clement, and Barry from OrCam

Session 2, GPS
Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Present: 8 participants; Shawn, Albert, Geri, John, Fay, Carol, Louise, Kari-Lyn

First Saturday Meeting which dealt with GPS,
Date: Saturday, October 22, 2016 at VCC
Present: 24 participants; John, Jeremy, Nora, Rita, Tammy, John, Peg, Bev, Pat, Bridget, Mary, Mo, Richard, Perry, Icy, Tracey, Shawn, Sean, Matthew, Monty, Cathy, Becky, Owen and Anna

What is GPS – Global Positioning System?
• What is it and how does it work?
• -type of technology that tells someone or something where it is on planet earth
• relies on a series of satellites in the sky
• there used to be 24, now there are many more
• your technology communicates, gets a message to tell you where you are in relation to the satellite
• The accuracy ranges from 1 metre in military technology to 2-3 metres, or as bad as five, depending on the service provider

History and Evolution
• Satellites were used initially for GPS
• GPS is used for anything that does long distance travel
• Nowadays everybody has GPS – it now is enhanced by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cell towers, and satellites.
• Some store maps so you can look at them even when there is no satellite signal or data connection.
• Portable GPS started in the late 90’s and were the size of back-packs and Laptops.
• The trekker was a PDA with special software added which was very expensive. Came with many components and wires to connect everything.
• It was full featured, would tell you points of interest, could browse a route, and was a very handy device. It had no Internet connection and relied on satellites. So, if it was rainy or cloudy it’s difficult to reach the satellites and would not work.
• Trekker Breeze had some improvements but was harder to relabel points of interest.
• At this point they started integrating GPS into note takers you could carry your one device.
• Freedom Scientific included it in the Pacmate which no longer exists. They used infrared for the receiver which meant you had to line it up perfectly in order to work.
• Then there was the BrailleNote which included GPS. You could add additional software for another $1500 which came with maps and a receiver. They used Bluetooth – Wi-Fi___33 without Internet – good for about 30 feet. This was more stable connection.
• Then BrrailleSense added GPS. Worked reasonably well.
• At the same time GPS were starting to be integrated into cars
• Then we started integrating into phones.
• Using 3G and cell networks.
• Apple came up with Maps on the IPhone so you did not need to purchase additional software.
• Google came up with google maps
• Now there is location tracking with phones.
• The more things you have transmitting on your phone the easier it will be for the GPS to work.
• Blue tooth will suck your battery life faster when turned on.

GPS apps – BlindSquare, Apple Maps, Navacon, Smartphone GPS, Seeing Eye, Nearby Explorer, AuTour.
• Google Maps, Apple Maps, and AuTour are free
• You do need data on your phone to use GPS on the go
• You may want an external battery pack or a phone case that charges it twice
• When you ask Siri to take you somewhere the phone will automatically use Apple Maps. Whenever you choose Get Directions uses Apple Maps
• Tell it to find a place and get directions or ask Siri to take you somewhere – tracking isn’t bad and directions usually will get you there.
• Apple maps will tell you when to switch lanes so it can be helpful if you are trying to help navigate for your driver
• Google Maps is more refined, better control, and you can do more stuff with it.
• You can find it in the app store, it’s free, and includes transit stops locally but not for every system.
• Five options driving walking, transit, biking, and ride services
• When you open google maps it opens a menu with an edit field. You can dictate as long as you have good service and your environment isn’t too loud.
• Menu will get you into settings, save your location
• When you click query you get a search field, recent history will give you the last places you’ve searched for, explore food and drinks, gas stations, pharmacy’s, nearby.
• Maps on the Trekker could be 2 years old but Google Maps are updated regularly.
• Not every business will show up but if you enter an address it will be able to find those smaller businesses
• You need location services on for GPS to work.

Seeing Eye has a look around arm that will tell you what is in each direction. It updates every 15 seconds which is why it sucks the battery so fast.
• Once it catches where you are it will tell you what is to your southeast or northwest. It will tell you what street is running from your left to right, or behind to forward.
• Seeing Eye uses worldwide maps. It pulls from foursquare or google maps.
• You can pay $13 per month, $60 per year, or buy it outright for $300.
• You can create routes, mark points of interest.

BlindSquare won’t give you turn by turn instruction
• It has a “look around” arm to see what is nearby
• It has a 15 minute sleep timer

Nearby Explorer is less than a third of the money but does pretty much the same as Seeing Eye.
• Both give route options, virtual walk abouts, include buses
• It also has a “look around” arm
• Nearby Explorer is $109. Covers North America. Downloads 4 gigs of maps into your phone and uses google maps and apple maps. It requires a lot of storage.

AuTour is a new free app
• You can point your phone at something and it will tell you what you are pointed at
• Radar will scan what’s around you 360 degrees. Beam tells you what you are pointed at.

Seeing assistant move, Lite and paid versions available
• -has a suite of applications, colour detector, light detector
• -it is an app, somewhere around nine or ten dollars
• -reason it is ten and not one hundred, is because it does not pay map companies to license expensive maps from third parties
• -instead it makes use of a project called OpenStreet Map, a project where people all over the world, have designed the map for the company
• anywhere people go, they log their current location, and open street map shares it with the rest of the users
• takes advantage of free mapping from countries
• -not as good as the ones that use really detailed third party maps, but probably about 90% as good, and much more affordable
• -don’t always need a data connection, but will need to download maps at some point
• -the presenter demonstrates the app to the group
• the presenter shows a point close to our location that he added to the open map
• the presenter hits the where am I button, gives a slightly different address, but that is probably the closest address to this classroom
• This app can also identify cross streets
• now giving an example of a route
• the presenter goes to all categories, clicks entertainment, to see what is around, and looks for close by restaurants
• clicks actions, hits add to track
• the app also tells you by clock face where your destination is, so as you approach it will say the place is at 11 clock, 10 o’clock, and so on, orienting you to the building
• calculate a turn by turn route
• start point, my location, end point, restaurant, route type, fastest
• designate and track route
• -drawbacks
• the simulate location feature
• tell your phone where you will be in the future, choose a place, and it can simulate that location, and then you can explore that area in the same way you would with the app if you were actually there
• this feature stopped working in parts of the app, however when the presenter contacted the developers, they were receptive and thanked him for pointing out the error

Which is the best GPS App:

Blind Square is inexpensive
• Accessible overlay that uses the compass, apple maps, transit app and makes it accessible
• Tells you where you are in relation to your destination but no turn by turn directions

• Ask your I-phone to find directions to an address
• Choose whether you are driving, walking and then it will talk you through the directions
• I-Beacon technology requires Bluetooth which will work indoors
• GPS doesn’t work in a mall
• Tap with 4 fingers at the bottom of the screen brings cursor to bottom or at top of the screen brings you to the top
• Four Square – you can pull up the restaurant where you are and rate your meal. The more places you check in at, the more places end up on Four Square
• Blind Square uses four square
• You can search for arts and entertainment, food, residences, shops, outdoor and recreation, colleges and universities, etc
• Sometimes it will tell you about a restaurant that is now closed

Nearby Explorer – need more than a 16 gig phone – a bit more expensive but does give turn by turn directions
• Costs more than Blind Square but less than Seeing Eye.
• Increase or decrease radius to hear what is closer or father away
• You can turn on a setting to tell you every street you cross, city boundaries, addresses, etc. You can choose as little or as much as you want
• Guidance can be turned on to give you guidance to get to your location
• Nearby Explorer was developed by American Printing House and it has been running on Android for 4 years.
• Once you have maps loaded on the app and you use only onboard apps, you don’t need data

Seeing Eye requires data for maps which is why it doesn’t require as much space.

OrCam demo from Barry Underwood
• Comes with glasses with a small camera attached. The camera can attach to any set of glasses
• Once the device is turned on, you hit the single button which is a trigger to take a photo of what you are looking at.
• You can also use your finger and point to the document and it will also take a picture and start reading

The next meeting topic is to be determined

November 23 will be the next Daytime GTT Vancouver Meeting at Blind Beginnings.
December 3 will be the next Saturday GTT Vancouver Meeting at VCC